Phosphene Dream

Metascore
70

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
Buy On
  1. Rock album of the year, if anyone's counting.
  2. 82
    With an intense, brooding sound, Phosphene Dream is the perfect album for those who want to take a trip to the dark side.
  3. A recent appearance on Late Show with David Letterman saw the band add an extra minute of soaring harmonies, leading to a satisfying end. It's a minor gripe, especially when Phosphene Dream is such a delight; but the addition of this finish on the album version of the song might have just about made it perfect.
  4. Inasmuch as they continue to build upon The Velvet Underground's Warhol-ian art rock daze and the psychedelic blues of hometown heroes The 13th Floor Elevators, The Black Angels attempt clarity with Phosphene Dream, revelatory guitar playing that owes more of itself to the garage gems associated with The Kinks, The Monks, The Troggs and even The Doors.
  5. Phosphene Dream is not a release to sing along to so much as lie helpless with whilst narratives spawn and play out in your imagination, invariably twisted and terrifying but always interesting. Psychological trauma might not necessarily be what you what you want from an album, but at least it provokes a response.
  6. Phosphene Dream, count backward from 99.
  7. Dec 21, 2010
    77
    By showing a willingness to diversify their sound while cutting down on bloat, Phosphene Dream is easily the Black Angels most listenable record to date. It also suggests that they're keen on that most outmoded of concepts in the blog era: career longevity.
  8. While Phosphene Dream is certainly their most song-oriented release to date, it still too often emphasizes mood and texture over structure and tune.
  9. Phosphene Dream is a step up, if only for the little bit of variety that the tighter arrangements and genre-hopping provide.
  10. Oct 21, 2010
    70
    Even at Phosphene Dream's best moments, you can't help feeling that this is a very competent, earnest reproduction of things that have already been done.
  11. There's a definite identity to the band on this third album, and its highest points are some of the highest of the band's career thus far, but to this listener, the band lack the kind of killer edge displayed by newer challengers to the retro-rock throne, such as San Francisco's Wooden Shjips. That said, if you like the influences clearly on display, there's little to fault, and plenty of fuzzy swagger to bask in.
  12. 70
    Sorta silly lyrics like "Rollin' fast down I-35/Supersonic overdrive" indicate the road that Phosphene Dream navigates: It's all blacktop stretching through reverberating vistas--ultracool if a little predictable.
  13. Sometimes being bad can be more fun than being good, and on Phosphene Dream The Black Angels hit that sweet spot more often than not.
  14. It's not all zonked heaviness: There are smartly layered riffs and echo-slathered melodies.
  15. Q Magazine
    60
    It's what Spiritualized might sound like before Jason Pierce sprinkles his gospel fairy dust on them. [Oct 2010, p.104]
  16. Everything from the production to the songwriting seems aimed to evoke the 60s, and the album would probably sound killer on a good turntable.
  17. Under The Radar
    60
    With Phosphene Dream, The Black Angels can seem like they're too often pulling in two directions at once -- unable to leave behind their bearings yet subtly alluding to a desire to move forward. [Fall 2010, p. 66]
  18. Mojo
    60
    The Austin Doors ramp up the psych-pop tunes. [Oct. 2010, p. 97]
  19. Uncut
    60
    A spring creeps into the step of "Sunday Afternoon" and "Telephone," providing a welcome break in the weather from a band who conform a little too readily to Henry Ford's dictum of having any colour you like so ling as it's black. [Oct 2010, p.87]
  20. Their fourth album has none of the witchy class that makes these others so compelling and comes off like a painfully hokey play-act.
  21. Phosphene Dream's real achievement is that it takes the band's earlier murderous attitude and makes it impossibly bland. It might be the first time you fall asleep during an album with copious references to toxic gas, hauntings, death, blood, and killing.
  22. Phosphene Dream's real achievement is that it takes the band's earlier murderous attitude and makes it impossibly bland.
User Score
8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 14 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Mar 23, 2012
    9
    Legit throwback to oldies, especially The Doors. It is an album you'll love to dance to, feel EVERY sound, and appreciate every lyric. MaybeLegit throwback to oldies, especially The Doors. It is an album you'll love to dance to, feel EVERY sound, and appreciate every lyric. Maybe The Black Angels most addictive album. Full Review »
  2. Dec 24, 2011
    7
    If you miss Jim Morrison...well, he's back. No I mean this band sounds exactly like The Doors, especially in their debut (they lose thisIf you miss Jim Morrison...well, he's back. No I mean this band sounds exactly like The Doors, especially in their debut (they lose this similarity with this album). They approach more of a 13th Floor Elevators influenced type of band appeal, which is pretty cool. What i like about them is that they aren't approaching the whole neo-psychedelia phase the same way everyone else is. I'm Pretty sure they got their name from the Velvet Underground song, and also because the Black angels have a track called Sunday Afternoon (maybe a sequel to Sunday Morning?) Full Review »
  3. Sep 21, 2010
    8
    Dark and Brooding with underlying harmonic rifts. This album is with out a doubt, a new favorite of mine.